FANTASTIC story about a study done by Northeastern University Professor Walter Carl and John Cass at Backbone Media Inc. about what makes for a successful corporate blog. In a nutshell:

Culture: If a company has particular cultural traits worth revealing or a bad reputation it wants to repudiate, blogging can be an attractive option.
Transparency: Critical to establishing credibility and trust with an audience. People want to see an honest portrayal of a company and know that there are not ulterior motives behind the blog. Blog audiences respect a willingness to disclose all points of view on a subject.
Time: It takes a lot of time to set up, research and write a quality blog. Companies need to identify a person who has the time or whose schedule is freed up to make the time, or need to engage a group of people to share the responsibility.
Dialogue: A company’s ability and willingness to engage in a dialogue with their customer base about topics that the customer base is interested in is critical to its blogging success.
Entertaining writing style and personalization: A blogger’s writing style and how much they are willing to reveal about their life, experience and opinions brings human interest to a blog, helps build a personal connection with readers and will keep people reading.

You can read the complete Blogging Success Study here.

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7 Comments

  1. Maggie – who’s doing it well in Canada in your opinion?

  2. Hi Dave, I have a couple of favourites in Canada, but they tend to be savvy individuals who are in a position to decide that what their company needs is a blog – and then they go do it.

    1. Alex Saunders at iotum – Alex really “gets” blogging, and he uses his corporate blog as a place to communicate both marketing and research messages.

    2. Another trailblazer in the field of Canadian blogging execs is Jim Estill of Synnex. He started his blog as a way of communicating with the troops, only to come to the realization that it could be much, much more.

    The PR universe is of course stuffed full of bloggers blogging about blogging, and Hill & Knowlton has some great Canadian contributors to the conversation.

    But as far as an enterprise-wide deployment, I’m afraid I don’t have any home-grown favs to cite – I simply don’t know of any (other than, frankly, the ones we’re working on right now, so give us 3-4 months and we can talk again!) However, if you have any to share that I may have missed, I would really appreciate your passing any links along!

  3. Hey Maggie – I think there is a huge difference between “corporate blogging” and blogging.
    Not to tear your list apart but to give a slighty different point of view on the 3 that you mentioned.
    1 – Alex Saunders – he clearly states that it is his “personal soapbox”, so to me that isn’t a corporate blog. Iotum does have a company/ corporate blog that is hosted on on the main url.
    2 – Jim Estill – I actually had him speak at an event I organized back in March and he mentioned in his talk that his blog is not a corporate blog, and more on his personal thoughts as well as a platform to share his vision and leadership to his employees, investors, basically people he does business with. He also shared a funny story where he is very transparent and talk about his family, so much that his kids ask him “will this end up on the blog dad?”
    3 – I’ll give you H & K though, as the closest, but I’d love to hear them talk more about the work they’re doing with clients. Which would in turn allow them to use it for a platform to showcase their “thought leadership”, not enough Canadians blowing their own horn!

    I’ve actually started to put together a list of others I’ve found – http://profectio.com/forde/2006/11/03/which-canadian-companies-are-blogging/

  4. Hi Dave, my bad – I’ve given the wrong URL for Alex Saunders, the iotum corporate blog is at: http://www.iotum.com/simplyrelevant/

    And I’m afraid that I’m going to very politely have to take issue with your characterization of Jim Estill’s blog as simply a “blog” rather than a “corporate blog”. To quote Jim himself, “I started my blog… 18 months ago as an effort to increase communications with my staff but very quickly realized the power of it with my customers and my suppliers. Now I consider my blog to be an integral part of my marketing efforts.”

    A blog that was created and is geared to achieving corporate objectives (inside or out) = a corporate blog (tales of vacations and conversations with children notwithstanding).

    Thanks so much for the link to the list you’re compiling – it will be a great resource if you can make the time to keep it current as the Canadian corporate blogosphere evolves!

  5. Whoops – and of course, we can’t forget the blogging folks over at Thornley Fallis!

  6. Alright, I stand correct on Jim’s blog – I haven’t been to it in a few months.

    I do think that since all this is still so new there will be a lot of subjective definitions of blogs, social media, etc.

    I’ve added a few more, and will keep it up to date – look for the published list on the main blog in a few days.

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